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On a visit to Khalifa University yesterday to look at studentsí projects and the subjects they study were FNC members, from left, Noura Al Kaabi, Mohamed Ahmed Al Murr, Hamad Al Rahoumi and Mouna Al Bahar. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National
On a visit to Khalifa University yesterday to look at studentsí projects and the subjects they study were FNC members, from left, Noura Al Kaabi, Mohamed Ahmed Al Murr, Hamad Al Rahoumi and Mouna Al Bahar. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National

FNC to examine study choice for UAE pupils

The system under which children have to decide by as young as the age of 15 whether they want to study arts or sciences will be studied by the FNC.

ABU DHABI // The system under which children have to decide by as young as the age of 15 whether they want to study arts or sciences will be studied by the FNC.

The plan was aired yesterday during a visit to Khalifa University by council members.

Hussain Al Hammadi, a member of the university's board, conveyed greetings from Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and chairman of the board, to the visiting members. Mr Al Hammadi told them that Sheikh Mohammed had urged the council to look into the possibility of removing the need to choose between the two tracks.

The aim, Mr Al Hammadi said, would be to help schools produce more students with skills geared to the country's future needs.

Dr Mona Al Bahar (Dubai), head of the FNC education committee in the council, said the committee would look into the proposal.

She said that as an academic herself, she had seen that the current two-track system hurt students' employment prospects.

She added that the Government's 2030 vision, which puts engineering-heavy areas such as nuclear power and semi-conductor technology at the heart of Abu Dhabi's post-oil economy, required pupils to be skilled to work in those areas.

But abolishing it would not mean arts would be forgotten, she said.

As members toured the university, they were shown student projects, which included award-winning mobile applications, a guided vehicle system, a solar thermal desalination system, and robots, including one that could youlla dance.

Members were also taken to tour university labs, including an environmental reaction lab, which, they were told, was equipped to detect nuclear radiation in the air or water.

"It has been a great opportunity to see development in technology, whether nuclear or environmental," Dr Al Bahar said. "It has been a great experience. Especially to see Emiratis studying this technology - in very rare fields."

Eighty per cent of the university's students are Emirati - half are women - all of them on scholarships. Fourteen students are enrolled on masters' degrees and 16 on doctorates.

On top of their tuition fees these students receive a monthly stipend and other benefits.

Other council members on tour included Dr Sheikha Al Erri (UAQ), Noura Al Kaabi (Abu Dhabi), Hamad Al Rahoomi (Dubai), Mohammed Al Murr (Dubai), and the secretary general, Dr Mohamed Al Marzouqi.

osalem@thenational.ae

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